Friday, December 15, 2017

Bucket Seat: BMW 520d

Earlier this year I got to drive the new BMW 530i for a bit around Johannesburg, it was a car that was made for a busy city, offering the driver a sophisticated business car with a sporty alter-ego. Fast forward a few months and I found myself in another 5 Series but this time in Durban, a city that isn't as frantic as the hustle and bustle like Jozi but this surf city offers it's own little obstacles that the Business Athlete could come against. Also this time I'm driving the range entry diesel engine, which does offer some performance perks compared to the petrol derivative, so I was looking forward to the next seven days with the car. 


I don't think I can add anything more than what I've already said in the previous post about this car. It's design is dynamic and progressive, keeping in line with the new design philosophy coming from BMW and something that we will see passed down onto the other models in the years to come. However what I can comment on is that this particular model was pretty basic in terms of what it had on as extras compared to the 530i I had. At the time of the launch, BMW offered customers a few freebies when purchasing the new 5 Series and basically this car had everything that they offered and while when I first jumped into it, it did seem a bit plain, I did come to realise that what it offered was enough. While I'm more of a fan of the Luxury Line, the car came with the M Sport package, taking the aggressive look up a notch with low stance, M kit, large 19" multi-spoke rims and the M badge prominently placed around the car. In white, it really is a looker provided you keep it clean. 


With the BMW 2,0 diesel engine powering this behemoth, I wasn't going to expect mind blowing performance from it but it did surprise me. Given the size and weight of the 5 Series, the TwinPower Turbo engine still manages to produce 140kW and 400Nm of torque, so off the line she is no slouch. Add to that the exceptional economy which BMW claimed and average of 4.7L/100km, I got it close to that but doubt it will be hard to accomplish as this thing sips on the fuel. As per the norm with BMW, there are three driving styles, Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport, usually comfort and sport are the way to go but I found myself driving quite a bit on Eco Pro mode, for one, the digital instrument panel turns to this awesome blue and also most of my time driving was around urban areas and high traffic freeway driving this also saved me a good few litres on fuel. In sports mode on the open road, this thing is a menace. I love having the the sports display on the large 7" display screen on to see how much of the engine I'm using. Also in Sports mode the instrument panel turns red with large numbers displaying your speed. Really awesome feature in this new 5. 


This car, while not having a lot still was packed with tech. I can go on about the real time traffic on the GPS, the climate control with 3 zones, the M Sport 8 speed auto gear box with paddle shift which is just sublime but I will preach this every single time I get a car with this option, the adaptive LED headlights. Seriously guys, I've driven a few premium luxury cars and BMW's adaptive LED technology still leaves me in awe. Besides bending lights, the ability to sense on coming cars to dim one light and shine the brights on to verge to make sure nothing untowards is there. It's really something you have to experience for yourself and trust me, it will leave you mind blown as well. Sadly what was lacking in this car and while the PDC's are pretty accurate, if you getting a 5 Series, you going to need the reverse camera, the fancy 3 camera system would be better but just the reverse camera is a must as parking this thing isn't the easiest. But if you got a lot of cash you can just opt for the remote park option where the car parks itself. Less headache for you!


I like big cars and I can't deny...okay that sounded better in my head, but I learn't how to drive on a big family sedan so driving big cars like the 5 Series seems natural to me. Hence hatches will never appeal to me at all. Hence this 5 Series, even at first I wasn't too keen seeing how low spec'd it was didn't really appeal to me, I slowly began to love it, love it so much that when it came to returning the car, it hurt a bit. If you looking at buying a 5 Series, personally, this is the best engine variant for it. Given I'm driving it at the cost so performance is a bit better than up country but when it comes to diesel torque it won't differ that much in altitude. This car is everything it says it is, a bit pricey but worth every cent. 


 2.0 litre Diesel, Twin Turbo 4 cylinder
 Gear Box
 8 speed automatic with paddle shift
 Top Speed
 6.2  seconds
*Priced without extras and April 1st increase not taken into account.

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